Over the past year and a half or so, T-Mobile has made announcement after announcement in what they’ve dubbed the “Un-carrier” series. Each announcement brings some change that’s meant to rid T-Mobile of some common wireless industry pain point — things like early termination fees, or the absurd costs of international data usage.
Today, T-Mobile made its seventh sweeping change: From now on, all handsets it sells will support Wi-Fi calling.
Not familiar with Wi-Fi calling? To oversimplify some really neat technology, here’s the idea: When you’re within range of a trusted Wi-Fi network, your voice calls and texts automatically go through that router rather than going to a distant cell tower. It improves voice quality, particularly when the cell network around you isn’t up to snuff. You know that one spot in your house where your calls just always drop? With Wi-Fi calling, that shouldn’t be an issue.
In a thick, concrete building where the cell network could never reach you? As long as you’re on Wi-Fi, you should still be able to make and receive calls exactly as you normally would. If you walk out of range of the Wi-Fi network, the call should transition over to the cell network seamlessly.
T-Mobile also announced a new partnership with Gogo’s in-flight wireless services; moving forward, T-Mobile postpaid customers will be able to send/receive text messages over Wi-Fi on any Gogo-enabled flight, for free.
These rapid-fire announcements are getting a bit hard to keep track of at this point, so here’s the “Uncarrier” history so far:
Uncarrier 1: T-Mobile launches its 4G LTE network, ditches annual service contracts
Uncarrier 2: T-Mobile expands their upgrade program to allow customers to upgrade their phones twice a year
Uncarrier 3: T-Mobile makes international data/texting free
Uncarrier 4: T-Mobile announces they’ll cover early termination fees for anyone willing to switch to their network
Uncarrier 5: T-Mobile starts a “Test Drive” program to loan potential customers an iPhone 5S for 7 days
Uncarrier 6: T-Mobile stops counting data used in select music apps against your monthly limits